Saturday, May 9, 2009

Stage 2: Jesolo - Trieste 156Km

Sunday, 10 May, 2009, Stage 2 official description:
The first mass stage, which is traditionally when the faster wheels in the group emerge. The finish line is in Trieste, a location of exceptional prestige. The altimetry profile of the stage is flat or very flat for over half its length, with light undulations in the final leg and on the finishing circuit which should not, however, prevent the sprinters from shining.

The stage begins in Jesolo, the famous and very well kitted-out seaside resort in the province of Venice which has seen much development. Jesolo is situated to the north of Venice proper, where the river Piave meets the sea. The town offers a rich and varied range of options for seaside tourism. The thermal heliotherapy centre, the Cavallino area near the mouth of the Venice lagoon, the Sabbioni headland, the unusual natural setting of Eraclea Mare: these are just some of the points of exceptional interest in Jesolo which, on several occasions, has also been the scene of finishes in stages of the Giro, and always featuring sprinters: Rino Benedetti in 1955, a very tight dash with Zandegù in 1970 who beat Guido Reybrouck and Basso, and Cimini in 1987. The next day’s departure from Lido di Jesolo, to finish in Sappada, featured the famous “fratricidal” struggle between the two teammates, Visentini and Roche. The following year (1988) the stage was won by Paolo Rosola and in 2001, the last time the Giro came to town, the Lido di Jesolo-Ljubljana stage was won by the late lamented Denis Zanette.

After Jesolo the itinerary continues to Eraclea, San Michele al Tagliamento, then the entry to Friuli-Venezia Giulia at Latisana, and then Cervignano with a short foray into the province of Gorizia. In the post-war period Trieste was contested territory, and political tensions in this area resulted in the route of the 1946 Giro being blocked by activists and led to the Rovigo-Trieste stage being ended prematurely in Pieris on 30 June 1946. Political pressures resulted in the cyclists continuing on to Trieste, however, and Giordano Cottur, a legendary figure in the Trieste cycling scene who passed away in 2006, coasted through the finish line (symbolic) to take first place (also symbolic) for the stage, followed by Toni Bevilacqua and cheered on by rejoicing crowds.

There have always been winners of amazing prestige in this splendid city, nestled between the blue of the sea and the white rocks of the Kras plateau, with its beautiful and evocative landscape containing a great many historic, cultural, monumental, artistic, and natural locations of interest, all blended harmoniously in the cosmopolitan city of Trieste, and well represented by the unique atmosphere of Piazza Unità d’Italia (“Unity of Italy Square”), the traditional location for the finish of the Giro d’Italia stage.

Trieste is also the annual venue for “Barcolana”, the most popular sailing regatta in the world.

Trieste has hosted 19 previous stage finishes. Girardengo in 1919 and again in 1923, plus Belloni in 1920, Brunero in 1927, Battesini in 1934, Del Cancia in 1938, Cottur (born and bred in Trieste) in 1939 and again in 1946, in the famous mock-stage incident. In 1940 the winner was Vicini, in 1951 Frosini, in 1955 Fantini, in 1960 Bruni, in 1961 Rik Van Looy, in 1966 Bariviera, in 1968 Guido Reybrouck, in 1973 Marino Basso in the world champion’s rainbow-striped jersey and also the conclusion of the first “European” Giro d’Italia, in 1977 Gualazzini, in 1981 Knudsen in the preliminary time trial, and the last two stages here were time trials won by Zülle in 1998 and Gontchar in 2004.

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1 comment:

  1. Cycling along the Northern Adriatic Coast is a really wonderful experience.